Monday, February 25, 2008

What's a "Ship Date"?

Recently GameStop has further obscured the availability of their inventory by announcing "ship dates" instead of release dates.

GameStop can now further enforce their mandatory pre-orders by claiming that a game hasn't been stocked yet.

Let's talk about how street dates work. A street date, is the day a retailer is allowed to begin selling a product.

Since you can't depend on all retailers receiving the product at the same time, you set a "street date" so no retailer has an advantage over another.

Here's an illustration; your local movie theater gets the print of the newest disaster movie on a Wednesday. The Cineplex downtown doesn't get it until Friday afternoon.

If they haven't agreed to the film's street date, the local theater could begin running the movie two days early, thereby having an economic advantage over the Cineplex.

Back to GameStop, we have street dates to ensure that retailers have ample time to receive and stock products prior to the day they can be sold.

There is no reason to announce their so called "ship date" because the game has been shipped in advance.

Now GameStop's "VIP" availability has another excuse to turn paying customers away.

"No Pre-order? Sorry, the game hasn't been received yet."

'Army of Two' is scheduled to come out Tuesday, 3/4. Will GameStop sell you a copy on that day?

EA, when would you like your game to be available for sale? Better check with GameStop, it seems that they are in control of your release dates now.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

GameStop withholding Devil May Cry 4?

Yesterday 2/5 was the release of the highly anticipated game Devil May Cry 4.

Many gamers have complained that GameStop informed them that it would not be sold until 2/6, a day after the standard Tuesday release.

Others received conflicting information from GameStop that DMC4 wouldn't be sold until 5pm, much later than the usual 12am.

Why would GameStop keep from selling a game on it's release day?

It seems that they are experimenting with "VIP" based availability. Customers who pre-ordered the game are allowed to buy it on release day, and "regular" customers have to wait.

Is this what Capcom had in mind when they announced the release date?

Did they know that GameStop would allow the "privilege" of buying it only to those who surrendered a deposit in advance?

Is this the end of "free market" consumerism?

What will happen next week with Lost Odyssey? Can we buy it on 2/12?

Is GameStop dictacting street dates to profit from pre-orders?